Have a question? Please ask it at the bottom of this page and I’ll do my best to answer. Then I’ll add it to the others.
Q: Hi! I tried to find El Hoyo on Google Earth but the only one that came up is a village near Madrid. Is that it?
No. I made up a name for the village to protect the villagers’ privacy. The real village is in the Almería region, in the mountains.
Q: Hi Vicky, I’ve just finished One Young Fool, and I know you started writing when you were very young, but WHY do you write?
I think it’s an addiction, haha! Whenever I finish a book, I’m exhausted and I say to Joe, “Never again. That’s the last.” But I’m soon ready to start again. I can’t take life very seriously, and when I see people smiling, or better still, laughing out loud as they read my stuff, that absolutely floats my boat.
Q: A friend of mine recommended your book Chickens, and I loved it. I laughed all the way through, even more at the end than at the beginning! Did they really call you ‘Schindler’ at work because you’re always writing lists?
Yes. I’m afraid so.
Q: Did you really knock over the village fountain?
Q: Hi there! Your characters are a hoot! Do they know you’ve written about them?
Some do, others don’t. Nobody in the village speaks English so I’ve never mentioned the books. As far as I know, they don’t know I’ve written about them, but of course my friends and family are fully aware.
Q: What did your sister and her husband say when they read about themselves in the book?
Ah, the Eco-Warriors… I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about showing them those chapters… But they were fine about it. They said in real life they’re much worse than I’d described, so that was okay…phew!
Q: Hello Vicky, how difficult did you find it settling into such a small Spanish village? You didn’t speak any Spanish, did you?
Hello there, not difficult at all, everyone made us so welcome. But we had to get by in Spanish very quickly or life would have been much harder.
Q: What was most different from life in England?
Gosh, where do I start? Little children playing outside at 2 or 3 in the morning. Shops all closing at 2 in the afternoon. Crocuses flowering in November. The Fiestas – which are totally crazy! The lovely Spanish attitude towards the elderly and families. I could go on and on…
Q: Hi Beaky! I have to ask about the chickens. I can’t use the words here, but were those REALLY their names? If so, why?
Sadly, those were their real names, yes. I blame Joe. They were black chickens, very curious – much more so than their brown and white sisters. They were always investigating our shoelaces, (probably thought they were worms) so Joe kept tripping over them. Hence the names. Not intentional, but they kind of stuck.
Q: Hi Victoria, I’ve always kept chickens and I fully understand why you had to part with Cocky. Was he as bad as you described?
He was much, much worse. He was the most ferocious little creature I have ever come across, except perhaps for Tasmanian Devils which have pretty bad reputations. We really missed him though.
Q: Those little matchstick-men you use as scene breaks. What are they?
Ah, the Indalo, the Rainbow Man. That’s the emblem for the region, you’ll see it everywhere in the Almería region; as statues on roundabouts, on car bumpers, on tourist souvenirs and in people’s houses. As I explain in the book, if you buy one and give it to someone else – it’s supposed to bring them luck. But if you buy one for yourself, that’s VERY bad luck. I’m not superstitious, or I wasn’t until I came across the Rainbow Man. You read in the book what happened to us when I bought one for myself! I won’t be doing that again in a hurry!
Q: Hi, I love your recipes. Where did they come from?
A variety of places, mostly the village ladies. Many came from Gayle at Orce Serrano Hams. They are superb cooks and test-drive each recipe before they are posted on their blog. Other recipes came from characters in the book, and in Two Old Fools on a Camel, Nadia Sawalha donated a lot.
Q: I tried the Crispy Potatoes – Patatas Bravas recipe. Have to say, it was delicious and I’ve added it to my own recipe collection.
Good, we like that one, too. I just love the whole Spanish Tapas idea. Little bits of this and that – yum!
Q: Have you ever regretted moving to Spain?
Never. Not for a moment.
Q: Do you have plans for any more books in the future?
Oh yes! The Old Fools series hasn’t finished yet. Every day I gather more material, and I jot things down. Joe’s book, One Young Fool in South Africa is now finished *pinches herself – I never thought he’d get it finished!* and Two Old Fools in Turmoil is in the pipeline. Also, the Sixpenny Cross series keeps growing.
Q: Hi Victoria, I’ve just discovered that you’ve written another series, apart from the Old Fools. Is the Sixpenny Cross series based on where you grew up as a child?
Hi! Sixpenny Cross is a fictional village in Dorset, but many of the characters are inspired by people I have met during my life. The name of the village was inspired by the name Sixpenny Handley. I was born and raised in Dorset and I adore those Dorset names, like Puddletown and the River Piddle!